Citing health issues within his family, Larry Haws announced tonight that he was retiring from the Minnesota legislature.

I’d heard rumors that he might retire amonth ago but didn’t put much stock in them because Rep. Haws had already gotten the DFL endorsement to run for re-election in HD-15B. I thought it unnlikely that an endorsed candidate would retire.

Considering the fact that there’s some health issues within Rep. Haws’ family, it makes more sense now.

Following Rep. Haws’s speech, King Banaian, the endorsed GOP candidate in HD15B, issued this statement:

“I thank Representative Haws for his five years of service in the Legislature to the people of St. Cloud,” Banaian said. “Rep. Haws will be remembered as a hard worker and leader in this community.”

“We have much work to do now, to continue to talk to the people of St. Cloud about how we can hold state government accountable to its promises and to make it live within its means. I look forward to hearing many good ideas from residents of our district, and to taking those ideas to St. Paul in January.”

The conventional wisdom will have us believe that Rep. Haws’s retirement makes it more likely that King Banaian will get elected. there’s a certain amount of truth to that but it’s equally true that this was shaping up to be a challenging race for him.

The biggest thing going for King is his understanding of building and sustaining a prosperous economy. Not so coincidentally, that’s this campaign’s hottest issue.

Rep. posted this statement on his House website:

Dear Neighbors,

Because you’re a friend and supporter, I wanted you to know first about my decision to not seek re-election. Five years ago I offered myself as a candidate for public office in Minnesota out of a deep sense of appreciation of the issues important to the people of District 15B.

As a Minnesota State Representative, I have gained the greatest respect for the people in our community and have enjoyed serving their diverse interests at the Capitol. It has been a great honor to help make policies to improve the quality of life for those Minnesotans who call St. Cloud home.

During my service as your State Representative I have chief authored over 100 bills during five sessions and successfully carried and passed 15 bonding bills for Central Minnesota’s universities, prisons, airport, North Star Rail and the Civic Center.

I’ve been honored with ‘Legislator of the Year’ three times:

• I carried legislation important to the Minnesota Trust for Public Land that better positioned Greater Minnesota’s regional park system. As a past Park Director for the city of St. Cloud, I recognized the need to advocate a higher priority for the regional park system in rural Minnesota.
• The Minnesota VFW applauded my efforts to carry the Governor’s 2007 bill that was a cluster of 12 bills to address the needs and rights of Minnesota’s veterans. This legislation represents one of the most significant movements in veterans’ benefits.
• The Minnesota Work Force Council of Minnesota celebrated my authorship of legislation that required prioritization, reduction and saving of a work force program for at-risk youth in the State of Minnesota. Both the Minnesota Work Force Council and the Boys & Girls club benefited from this legislation.
Before coming to the capitol, my life revolved around teaching and coaching, leading athletes in four different sports to win 14 state and national titles before I started to change my hat in to serve as the St. Cloud Park Director, and later, a Stearns County Commissioner. While at the St. Cloud Park Department, I established one of the earliest Adopt Park Programs, recruiting 2,000 volunteers a year and raising $8.3 million dollars to supplement the St. Cloud Park Budget. As a county commissioner I helped establish a public forum at the beginning of each commissioner meeting, invited television coverage of county meetings, and modernized the county web site.

My priorities have always been my family and my community and will remain so whether I’m serving in public office or walking in the neighborhood. After 48 years of public service I am retiring one more time. I love retirement and have done so three other times. My professional journey has opened up incredible opportunities to engage with some wonderful people as we pursued common interests of concern to our families and communities.

I’m not leaving St. Cloud; I’m leaving St. Paul and coming home to St. Cloud. I’m truly looking forward to being home and seeing more of familiar faces and places. Thank you again for the privilege of serving this district for the last five years. It has truly been an honor and a joy to represent the people in our community.

Sincerely,

Your Friend,

Larry Haws

Though I’ve disagreed with Rep. Haws on policy a time or two or more, I appreciate the hard work that he did in trying to improve St. Cloud. I wish Rep. Haws nothing but the best in his retirement. I hope he enjoys himself immensely in his retirement.

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